D-Day: Canada’s three services on Operation Overlord

A man crouches on the wing of a propeller-driven fighter aircraft. The wing are painted in stripes. A motorcycle is in the foreground.
Flying Officer H.W. ‘Bud’ Bowker works on the guns of the Spitfire he flies with a Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron in France. PHOTO: DND Archives, PL30259

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It was a maximum effort for the crews of Bomber Command’s 6 (RCAF) Group on the night of June 5-6, 1944. A force of 190 aircraft, comprising Avro Lancaster and Handley Page Halifax four-engine heavy bombers, flew 230 sorties in support of pre-invasion operations. A large number of targets were struck, with particular attention paid to the German coastal artillery emplacements on the beachhead. In all, more than 870 tons of high explosives were dropped for the loss of one Canadian Halifax.

RCAF fighter and fighter-bomber squadrons went into action providing support to the Canadian ground forces as the invasion kicked into high gear. The aerial activity over Normandy resembled swarms of locusts—the planes seemed to keep coming with no end in sight. An estimated 1,000 aircraft from 39 of the 42 Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons stationed overseas took on the aerial support of the invasion with roles ranging bombing, air superiority, ground attack and photo reconnaissance. Read the rest of the article . . .

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